The Impressionists had various interests, in fact, as well as photography, they became passionate about Japanese art, thus giving life to Japonism. The development of trade in fact had allowed the oriental culture to penetrate into Europe. For example, reproductions of some Japanese prints arrived in Europe, which were for example used to wrap the most varied objects
. This allowed many artists to become passionate about Japanese art, who requested the importation of real prints. Japanese art fascinated impressuonists because it had similar objectives to theirs: there was the will to tell nature in its evolution. The Japanese, however, transfigure reality and represent only the synthesis of what they see.
The great wave of Kanagawa
of Hokusay, where there is Mount Fuji in the background and where the waves are reduced to a series of floating lines. There are also two boats that seem to follow the wave trend. Shades, chiaroscuro and volume are eliminated. Works of this type, which describe nature in its mutability, are called ukyo-e, where e means representation and where ukyo means fluctuating, changing world. Hiroshige also created works of this type. As already stated, the Impressionists became interested in works of this genre and began to collect them. To be an avid collector was for example Monet, who in old age bought several Japanese prints, but also Manet. Van Gogh instead limited himself to admiring them in the shops that sold them. In French works there were therefore many citations to Japanese art, for example in.
Portrait of Emil Zola
by Manet in the background there are some prints depicting a painting of him and some prints. There is also a screen with Japanese flowers. Van Gogh instead portrayed his salesman of canvases that he called tertan, whom he was very fond of so much that the term means dad. He is leaning on a wall where there were various Japanese prints that have been reproduced by Van Gogh with great precision. For example, there are flowers, the geisha. Manet then had a print with Japanese dancers dressed in red, so he decided to portray his wife with a dress of this kind. Zen gardens were also popular in Europe. In fact, Monet had one built in his house in Giverny, with ponds, with water lilies and had an original Japanese bridge sent.
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